OPEX secures new multi-million pound contract with CNOOC

OPEX has secured a new multi-million-pound contract with CNOOC Petroleum Europe Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, for digital services across the company’s UKCS assets.

The three-year contract, with extension options, will see our X-PAS™ predictive analysis service rolled out on the Buzzard, Golden Eagle and Scott platforms, supporting operations across all topside oil, gas, water and power systems. OPEX has delivered digital services for CNOOC Petroleum Europe Limited for the past seven years through a previous contract with the company.

The X-PAS™ service has been developed to support oil and gas operators improve the predictability of offshore operations. Combining oil and gas and data science expertise with a range of predictive technologies, the service helps operators to maximise the value of operational data.

OPEX Chairman and CEO, Jamie Bennett, said: “This new contract with CNOOC Petroleum Europe Limited is the culmination of several years of close collaboration between our organisations. We are pleased to have extended our scope across the company’s UKCS assets.

“We have seen a notable shift as the industry is starting to show real commitment to digitalisation, which will undoubtedly bring breakthroughs in productivity and safety by using data to create meaningful insights.”

OPEX Data Scientists


Congratulations to our COO Chris Ayres and his team mate Andy Brooks for successfully completing the Coast to Coast In a Day challenge to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity’s Super Sam’s Fund.

Super Sam’s was set up in memory of a special young boy - Sam Dorrance - who battled a highly aggressive brain tumour when he was just four year’s old. Sadly, despite various treatments, Sam succumbed to his condition when he was five years old.

The Brain Tumour Charity is committed to projects that research better, more effective treatments for brain cancers and Super Sam’s Fund ensures that 100% of donations go specifically to support efforts to improve the treatment of childhood brain cancers. Chris and Andy had wanted to raise money for Super Sam’s for some time, with both having small but important links to Sam and his family.

Coast to Coast In a Day is a gruelling challenge which involves cycling 150 miles and a climb of 4,500m in a day. Starting in the Lake District, Chris and Andy made their way through the Yorkshire Dales, the Vale of York and the wild North York Moors before finishing in the seaside town of Whitby.

It’s an amazing achievement and Chris and Andy have raised over £4,000 to date. If you would like to support the charity you can sponsor the boys here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/coast2coast4sam



We are excited to announce that OPEX has moved to a new state-of-the-art office following a doubling of our customer base and subsequent team expansion.

The OPEX Digital Collaboration Centre at 18 Carden Place, in the West End of Aberdeen, is more than three times the size of our previous space at 10,000 square feet spread across three floors and incorporates the latest technology and collaborative workspaces.

A significant amount of our investment in the new premises has been spent on the fit out of the office, the infrastructure and new technology.

Jamie Bennett, Chairman and CEO of OPEX Group said: “The office move is an important milestone for OPEX, marking the expansion of the business.  Since the start of the year we have more than doubled our customer base and grown the size of our data science, engineering and administration teams.  The office move was primarily to accommodate this growth but has also provided us with an opportunity to invest heavily in new technology. 

“As well as starting to work with a number of new customers including operating companies such as BP, TAQA and Dana since the start of the year, some of our existing customers have also significantly expanded our services across their installations.

“Our new office space allows our data scientists, data analysts and engineering teams to work more collaboratively with our customers, utilising the latest technology, some of which is the first of its kind to be installed in the country.”


The latest technologies and innovations that are shaping the oil and gas industry are being showcased in Aberdeen today at the Future Oil & Gas conference.

The event, which brings together industry leaders with technology innovators, is taking place at The Robert Gordon University.

OPEX’s COO, Chris Ayres, is presenting during the Technology Innovation Showcase, alongside companies such as Microsoft, IBM, RigNet, Blackberry and the University of Strathclyde.

Chris’s presentation will explore how the X-PAS™ service is helping operators to move to a more predictive mindset and improve business certainty by combining AI, predictive technologies and ‘human’ domain expertise.

Future Oil & Gas


We’ve had a particularly busy start to June, with our data scientists creating bespoke predictive models for four new oil and gas customers covering a range of systems such as gas compression, oil train, water injection and produced water.

As the oil and gas industry continues to focus on using new technologies and methods of working to improve efficiency we have seen a significant increase in demand for our X-PAS™ Smart Production service.

By focusing on solving complex problems; identifying emerging threats which could cause production systems outages; or highlighting performance improvement opportunities we are helping our customers to extract maximum value from their existing operational data.

X-PAS Smart Production


OPEX’s Predictive Solutions Advisor, Colin Shearer, has been a pioneer and thought leader in AI and advanced analytics for over 25 years. In this article Colin discusses why it’s important to combine human expertise with artificial intelligence to achieve business outcomes.

Colin Shearer, Principal Advisor - Predictive Solutions

Obsessed with AI

Today there are new challenges in the industrial analytics space in the triangle between advanced analytics software, the profession of data scientists and deep domain knowledge.

The biggest trend I am seeing is that people are obsessed with…. sorry… seeing the potential of AI. In around 2010 we saw the Big Data wave which has now blended into the AI wave. Both have had a positive effect in that most senior executives now appreciate there’s potential value in these technologies. But their organisations often have no clue how to proceed, and so they embark on what end up being science projects.

Data excitement is a pitfall here – the idea that simply throwing data at smart technologies will give transformational results. It doesn’t, and that’s leaving a lot of would-be adopters disappointed.

Blind faith in AI will eventually fade, as the value of incorporating human expertise becomes more and more evident.

Focus on Business Outcomes

The combination of data, advanced analytics tools, data scientists and domain experts is powerful, but it’s crucial to have the business outcome in sight. It’s business first and tools later. In industry it may be prevention of unplanned shutdowns, solving quality problems, efficiency gains and much more.

Projects have to be driven by business problems and goals because these determine which analytics approach to use and which data to apply it to.

And you have to plan from the start around how your business will benefit. It doesn’t matter how technically brilliant your analytical work is; until you do something effective with the results and enhance your current operations it is meaningless.

Getting AI right has the potential to transform virtually every aspect of business, with improved decision-making driving better outcomes across the board. This is also the case for industrial analytics, where it is possible to embed analytics in the process.

Real Time is too Late

In manufacturing and industry real time is too late. A lot of cost and effort has gone into deploying condition monitoring, but the end result is usually a blizzard of alarms that surface when the equipment is already seriously damaged, often too late to prevent unscheduled downtime.

It is so much more powerful and valuable to get an early warning hours, days or weeks ahead, in time to adjust and avoid unplanned production failure or quality issues. And today, the streams of data painting a highly complex picture of system and process behaviour give you the possibility to predict and prevent through the knowledge of correlations and causality in data.

To me it is quite obvious that success and value in industrial analytics comes from bringing together a relevant business problem, the scientists or engineers knowing the process and product, and the data scientists with an advanced toolbox. While you may now utilise big data, sensor data and a whole array of new analytics capabilities, you cannot get the outcome you need unless you include the layer of human expertise.

Big Data is a source for improvement for companies, but its value is only released when it’s combined with human expertise.

Machines and GDPR

In contrast to the challenges we currently face in other application areas for advanced analytics: machines do not care about GDPR! So adding sensors, adding more and more streams of data to be exploited with analytics is the way to go. The key point is, though, that you can’t reap the benefits unless you analyse in the context of your domain knowledge.

Today’s analytical technologies can deliver new levels of knowledge, and are key to more automation, greater predictive power and significant value contributions. But you need to align these powerful tools with scientists and engineers who understand the complexity of the systems and processes being analysed.

The Industrial Revolution of Analytics

Just like the way manufacturing was transformed, the craftsmen in analytics will also face an industrialisation. Stand-alone one-man analytics doesn’t deliver results efficiently and it doesn’t scale. Data science needs to go through its own equivalent of the Industrial Revolution, with more focus on automation and deployment.

The base line for me is, that it’s not just a matter of applying smart technology; it’s essential to incorporate human domain expertise. In industry deep knowledge about systems and process engineering is at the heart of the analytical approach, and this knowledge is key to interpreting the output of the analyses.

Breakthrough recommendations derived from analytics in a complex process are most effectively delivered “expert to expert”.

Adapted with permission from Camo Analytics who originally published a broader editorial as part of their Industrial Analytics Thought Leadership series.


We have recently welcomed Eugene Burke to OPEX in the role of Principal Advisor for Behavioural Psychology to support the delivery of our X-PAS™ Smart Behaviours service.

Named by LinkedIn as one of the top global influencers in the field of people analytics, Eugene’s career spans roles as an applied psychologist, psychometrician, data scientist, and advisor to companies across the globe, as well as leadership roles in professional bodies including the British Psychological Society and the Association of Test Publishers.

Eugene Burke, Principle Advisor - Behavioural Psychology

Eugene will play a key role in the delivery of X-PAS™ Smart Behaviours, a new service that has been developed by OPEX to help oil and gas operators improve the safety and predictability of offshore operations by managing the risks posed by human behaviour.

Chris Ayres, Chief Operating Officer, said: “It’s a real coup for us to have someone of Eugene’s standing as part of the X-PAS™ Smart Behaviours team.

“We’ve brought together expertise in behavioural psychology, data science and oil and gas operations to offer a new approach to help oil and gas operators identify and quantify the levels of behavioural risk that exist across their offshore facilities and work teams.”

Eugene Burke said: “I’m delighted to be working with the OPEX team on such a new and exciting proposition. The oil & gas industry’s imaginative and passionate approach to managing safety has delivered significant improvements, but there remains one area that continues to pose a significant challenge – managing behavioural risk.

“By combining behavioural diagnostics with a deep analysis of operational and HSE data, we can reveal an opganisation’s unique ‘behavioural DNA’ and the critical factors that act to amplify the potential for incidents and disruption to offshore operations.

“This new level of actionable insight puts oil and gas operators on the front foot in understanding what they need to do to reduce incidents and strengthen operational predictability.”


SPE Offshore Europe has published it’s latest Industry Insights report which focuses on the Future of Upstream.

OPEX’s Senior VP, Roy Buchan, is one of eight industry experts who contributed to the report alongside representatives from Shell, Worley Parsons, Beckhoff, DNV GL, OGA, Aker Solutions and Ardent.

Offshore Europe Whitepaper.jpg

The report focuses on 4 key issues affecting the industry - Technology & Innovation, Operational Efficiency, Energy Transition and Decommissioning. In the report Roy discusses the importance of operational efficiency since the downturn and the future of the workforce.

You can download a copy of the report here.

Operational Efficiency Quote


OPEX is taking part in the OGV Innovate event in Aberdeen later this week.

As well as showcasing our range of X-PAS™ Predictive Analysis Services at the exhibition we will also be presenting at the conference, discussing how oil and gas operators can maximise the value of their operational data.

  • Thursday 11th April, 9am-5pm

  • The Village Hotel, Aberdeen

  • Meet the team at Stand 12.

With 22 exhibitors and 12 guest speakers you can book your place at the event here.

OPEX Group at OGV Innovate